If you follow professional sports, you’ve probably heard of human growth hormone (or HGH).
When rumors swirl about celebrities like Peyton Manning using HGH, you may wonder what it is, why so many athletes are talking about it, and if it could help you build muscle.
While it may have real benefits for some people, many of the purported effects of synthetic growth hormone are still unproven, and the pure injections can have serious side effects.
However, the lack of evidence hasn’t stopped even casual gym-goers from trying out HGH themselves.
You need to know all the facts before you give HGH a try, as well as understanding whether it’s legal for you to obtain it where you live.
So are the potential benefits worth the risk of serious side effects? Let’s find out.
What Is HGH And How Does It Work?
Human growth hormone is a peptide hormone that regulates growth during adolescence. HGH triggers the growth of all tissues in the body, including muscle and bone.
HGH is naturally produced in the pituitary gland when we’re kids, but the level of HGH in our body declines as we get older. Some people have a deficiency of the growth hormone, either from birth or due to illness, and for them, synthetic HGH may be an important treatment to stay healthy (although even in those cases it is still somewhat controversial).
It’s important to understand that synthetic HGH is only legal if it’s obtained with a valid prescription in the United States. That means that the majority of people who get HGH for other purposes, like building muscle mass, do so illegally.
Pure HGH is administered as an injection, and while many over-the-counter supplements claim to contain HGH as an ingredient, these claims are largely unregulated and it’s not possible to be certain of their contents. So there might be no growth hormone in the supplements at all, and potentially dangerous ingredients in their place – there’s really no way of knowing what’s in those bottles.
Potential Benefits Of HGH For Athletes
There is some promising evidence that this “body booster” may have some legitimate scientific backing.
Research so far tells us that HGH can decrease body fat and increase lean muscle mass, and improve exercise capacity and energy. Of course, these are all things that athletes are willing to shell out the big bucks for.
However, in addition to pure growth hormone being illegal without a prescription, there are potentially serious side effects to the injections that anyone considering them should know about.
Risk Of Side Effects With Pure HGH
Very little research has been done on the long-term effects of taking pure HGH regularly, but we can look at the chemical process created by frequent use to understand possible side effects.
According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, “Growth hormone increases the concentration of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) in the bloodstream. IGF-I encourages the multiplication of cells in the body and, in several studies, is linked with risk of cancer of the breast, prostate, and other sites.”
In addition to the cancer-causing risk of boosting IGF-1, some people taking HGH also notice swelling of the fingers, toes, or fullness of the face, likely due to HGH increasing the size of skeletal muscles. The experience of numbness, tingling, and other symptoms similar to carpal tunnel syndrome when taking HGH is more common in men than women.
Of more serious concern is the fact that since synthetic HGH increases muscles mass, it can lead to excessive enlargement of internal organs, including the heart. While this can be used as a treatment for adults with weakened heart muscles due to heart disease, Cardiomegaly (enlargement of the heart muscle) can be a deadly potential side effect of HGH abuse.
Boost Your HGH And Recover Faster Without The Side Effects
If you want to encourage your body to boost its HGH levels naturally without using illegal injections or expensive bottles of “HGH” mystery potions, you can use herbal supplements that have been proven to boost growth hormone levels on their own.
Adaptogenic herbs and foods, in particular, can be helpful for stimulating the body to create more HGH on its own. Mucuna is an example of an herb that has been shown to successfully increase HGH levels in the body.
Both L-glutamine and L-arginine have also been proven to increase levels of HGH in the body naturally and can be obtained over the counter legally. When these amino acids are taken in combination with exercise, study participants have shown a marked increase in growth hormone.
In addition to supplementation, short bursts of aerobic exercise and adequate sleep in a completely dark room can also increase your growth hormone levels naturally.
When you’re using intense workouts to boost your HGH naturally, massage is a great tool to speed up exercise recovery, allowing you to get back to your next workout faster and healthier. Sports massage is focused specifically on preventing injury, reducing recovery time, and helping athletes perform their best.
You have plenty of natural options to choose from if you’d like to avoid the high cost and side effects of synthetic HGH and let your body make more on its own.
Margo Carroll is a marketing strategist and email funnel copywriter for online business owners. She has worked with many massage therapists and has been featured in Massage magazine, the Massage Business Blueprint and MindBodyGreen. Learn more about Margo at margocaroll.com and on LinkedIn.